‘KRG to hold independence vote in 2017’

Fadhil Mirani

Iraqi Kurdistan Region will hold a referendum on independence in 2017, and will establish two special boards to prepare for the procedure, the secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo said on Tuesday, as cited by the Kurdish Basnews website.

One of the boards will be tasked with internal preparation for the vote, while the second will act as an executive body and cooperate with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Fadhil Mirani told reporters at a press conference after the meeting of the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) politburos.

Mirani stressed that the announcement does not mean that Kurdistan would proclaim independence shortly after the vote, but stressed that the regional authorities “do not ask for the permission of anyone but our nation” to hold the referendum, the media added.

In late March, Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani told reporters that Barzani had informed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres about the referendum on gaining independence from Iraq “at the earliest time.”

KRG officials have been criticised for using the referendum for independence as a diversion from the structural problems of the region where the economy has been particularly struggling. The region has a constitutionally granted right to decide its own fate but officials are yet to trigger the process.